Ashcroft school needs sidewalks for safety

Writer says letting children walk to school on crumbling roads is a bad accident waiting to happen.

Dear Editor

Wellness awaits you…or does it? This week I led my students from Ashcroft Elementary School to the high school. I took a tumble into the ditch while turning to check on their progress behind me. The surface beside the road was eroded and I stepped into empty space and fell. I was hurt and required first aid to address the large, dirt-embedded scrape I sustained. This injury, both to my calf and to my pride, could have been avoided had a sidewalk been in place. Sidewalks delineate a safe space for walkers and, if properly constructed, deflect vehicles from mounting the surface. It is the only safe way to manage students safely on the side of roads.

With the amalgamation of the elementary and high schools this coming September, our community needs a sidewalk from the new school to the bridge. The extra vehicle and student traffic combined will create a dire situation, and I contend that it is a matter of due diligence to take action before a critical situation with a child arises. A sidewalk would not only provide safe access for students to the downtown core, it would benefit the entire community.

Safety, fitness, beautification. People with wheelchairs or scooters, young families with strollers, walkers with dogs on leashes, the elderly. Sidewalks are an investment into the community. Yes, it costs money, but grant monies could be accessed if the village is willing to apply and match funds. Yes, the village may have to borrow, but how many of us bought homes without doing the same?

Instead of hoping endlessly for economic development to suddenly materialize, let’s make the town a place where economic activity will be stimulated by the attractiveness of our space and the drawing in of new residents. Lets live up to the new slogan of our community.

Gloria E. Mertens